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Unite Against Price Hikes, High Cost of Living and the War!

The purchasing power of workers is getting worse. The worsening of purchasing power means real wages decreasing! So, one must look not to the money paid to workers (nominal wage) but to the amount of things that can be bought by this wage (real wage).

It is clear that the more Turkey becomes an active part of the war, the more the budget expenses increase and this increase is loaded on the toilers’ back through the price hikes.

Prices keep going up making the life of toilers unbearable and aggravating poverty.

The AKP government announced the new price hikes particularly in spring and autumn to avoid the reaction of the toiling masses.

In April natural gas price was increased 19 percent in one go. In the beginning of October, once again, it was increased 10 percent, a second hike in less than four months. Thus natural gas price was increased more than 30 percent in total at a time when consumption is naturally lower making the bills less biting for a while.

Again in April, the price of electricity was increased 9.6 percent. But, not satisfied with this, the AKP government made a second hike by adding a 10 percent more to electricity, just like in the case of natural gas, to put its hand more deeply into the pockets of toilers.

That amounted to one more blow to the working masses suffering under the heavy burden of price hikes.

And the price hikes in relation to gasoline, diesel oil and other petroleum products are already tied to automatic mechanism.

Any price increase on gasoline, diesel oil, natural gas and electricity means a price increase on all other items.

Hence, on the basis of growing costs of energy products, we have a new wave of price hikes on everything, from transport through food, clothing to white goods.

Because greengrocery was cheaper and natural gas and electricity consumption lower in spring and summer seasons, the effect of the hikes was felt less. However in winter, the high cost of living will make itself felt with its full burden and turn the toilers’ life into a full suffering.

Because, while the prices of all basic necessities are increased, workers’ wages remain unchanged. In general the wages of workers are not increased, and when they are increased, it does not go beyond 5 percent. The wages thus remain more or less unchanged and the money earned by workers dries out rapidly in the face of high cost of living.

What this means is: The purchasing power of workers is getting worse. The worsening of purchasing power means real wages decreasing! So, one must look not to the money paid to workers (nominal wage) but to the amount of things that can be bought by this wage (real wage).

Now both nominal wages and purchasing power are low. For example, the net minimum wage is only 739 TL (about 300 euros).

How can a working-class family of four afford nutrition, paying the rent and bills, educating children and satisfying the other needs of them on this wage?

A minimum wage of 739 liras runs completely counter to the realities of life. A family of four needs to earn much more than that to afford even the most basic/minimum needs.

The starvation line declared by unions is over 1000 TL and the poverty line is over 3000 TL. In other words, a family of four needs to earn at least 1000 TL to live just on the brink of hunger.

If a minimum wage of 739 liras under Turkey’s conditions is considered, it will be seen that millions of workers have actually been living under the starvation line.

Workers have been working hard day and night to stay just above the starvation line, and trying to increase their incomes through overtimes. Unfortunately, in spite of all their efforts, workers’ life conditions cannot even come close to the poverty line.

Under these circumstances, workers are deprived of the means to feed themselves properly. They can afford cheap foods that basically contain carbohydrates like bread and macaroni, but not those protein-rich foods such as meat.

Workers who cannot feed themselves adequately are exhausted under long working days and heavy working conditions. The result is obvious: a physical exhaustion due to excessive overtimes, the shift system based on 12 hours, working both day and night during the same week (changing of shifts) making it impossible to have a rest.

That is the kind of life which is deemed proper to workers by the bosses and the AKP government!

Also in forthcoming months, the AKP government will continue to weigh upon the toilers by placing new price hikes on them.

The tax revenues of the state are on the rise by these price hikes. For example, almost half the price of cigarettes and gasoline goes to the state as tax.

Thus the state squeezes toilers like lemon through various taxes such as VAT and Special Consumption Tax.

And what for is the state budget formed by the money that mainly comes from toilers spent? For example, is enough investment being made on education and health services?

Of course not!

One of the large slices of the budget has been allocated to the war expenditures. The AKP government has been escalating the war inside and outside. While the military operations against Kurds have been going on in full swing, the military aid offered to the Free Syrian Army is more and more inflating the war budget.

While in the first half of 2012 203 million liras was spent for weapons and other war equipments, 287 million liras was spent in July alone. With 198 million liras spent in August, the money spent for war/destruction means reached 483 million liras. Furthermore, in the budget, there is also an enormous increase in the secret fund which is presented as “secret services expenses” spent for unknown reasons.

It is clear that the more Turkey becomes an active part of the war, the more the budget expenses increase and this increase is loaded on the toilers’ back through the price hikes.

Therefore one should not be misled by the AKP government’s warmongering discourse. War means death, destruction, suffering and tears.

There is no justification for the hikes. War also means price hikes, high cost of living, life becoming unbearable, long working hours and heavy working conditions.

Turkish and Kurdish toilers have already been suffering because of the war that has been continuing for 30 years. Therefore our duty is to raise our voice against this unjust war which takes toilers’ lives and also stand up against the war drive against Syria! Let’s unite against price hikes, high cost of living and the war!

  • Budget not for war, but for education and health!

  • Cancel the price hikes on natural gas, electricity, petroleum products!

  • A decent, tax-free minimum wage to meet the basic necessities!

  • Wipe off workers’ debts on credit card, electricity, water and natural gas!

  • Reduce food prices!

  • Freeze house rents!

  • Free health, education, housing and transport for toilers!

13 Ekim 2012






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